I'd never seen Porgy and Bess before, nor would count myself a true fan of opera, but I was enthralled by the experience and the show. I am a music-lover and am always listening to something and singing along, wherever I am, so I fancy myself as, if nothing else, a person who appreciates the talent it takes to sing. Being familiar with only with the pop versions of the songs of Porgy and Bess (like Fantasia's version of Summertime), it was truly thrilling to be exposed to the technical level of singing that the performers brought to this show and to hear the songs as they had originally been written.
All the performers were wonderful, but I have to say that Audra McDonald brought an energy to the show that was unlike anything I've seen before. It was like a smoldering, seething volcano was on stage every time she appeared—Bess' emotions were constantly battling inside and then soaring out through her voice. McDonald's emotional intensity was almost palpable. I can't imagine how she maintains that level of intensity for every performance, but she does! (I am sure she must be looking forward, in a bittersweet way, to the shows closing on Sept. 23, when she can lay the poor, troubled Bess to rest.)
|Me and @Parisbug, pre-show.|
Another exciting element to the show was the fact that our seats were so close to the stage. Previously relegated to seats in the back, I had no idea that the actors had microphones taped to their wigs or snaking up behind their ears, nor that they sweat just as much as you guessed they might (but can't see from the balcony), or that the "p" sound could send such explosive amounts of water from a person's mouth. The magic of the theater wasn't dimmed at all for these discoveries—they only deepened my respect for the artists that manage to pull it off a Broadway show on a daily basis.
I am so thankful to MamaDrama and Porgy and Bess for offering this opportunity to some of the bloggers attending BlogHer. Broadway shows may go on the road, but there is NOTHING like seeing a show in that famous district in New York City with the original performers chosen for the roles. THANK YOU!
If you are in NYC in the next couple weeks, you can catch one of the last showings of Porgy and Bess before it closes! Just go to the Porgy and Bess website for details.